Why Is the Love of Money “The Root of All Evil”? (1 Timothy 6:10)
- Jamie Rohrbaugh
- 2019 Apr 26
Have you ever heard the phrase, “the love of money is the root of all evil”? Perhaps the way it was spoken and applied has led you to bear a weight of condemnation when you need, enjoy, use, and earn money?
Whether or not this is the case, I want to show you what the Scripture here means in regard to money.
The phrase “the love of money is the root of all evil” is found in 1 Timothy 6:6-12. However, it’s not directly taken from the Scriptures. It’s actually a mis-quotation that drives a lot of people into unscriptural, scarcity-based thinking. Scripture says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and understanding the full meaning of these words impacts us in more ways than our finances.
What God's Word Actually Says about Money and Wealth (and loving it)
1 Timothy 6:6-12 actually says:
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Notice two things about this passage:
1. The Bible does not say that money is the root of all evil, but talks about “the love of money.”
This is a key difference because the whole passage—when you read it in context—is addressing the state of our hearts:
- What we desire,
- What we pursue,
- What we live for, and
- Whether our hearts are set on things above, where Christ is, or on material things of this earth.
In this passage, the apostle Paul tells us to desire God and all the things of God. He instructs us to pursue holy things with great passion, rather than setting our hearts and affections on wealth and riches.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have money, earn money, save and invest money, enjoy exchanging money for what we need or desire, or otherwise become involved in financial things…
… But it does mean that we cannot be emotionally attached to money.
2. The apostle Paul warned us about the real danger of “love of money.”
How many movies you have ever seen in which the villain was trying to steal or control power and money? If you are a fan of the big screen, you may actually have seen dozens or even hundreds of such storylines. You may not have realized what you were watching, but Hollywood is wrapped up with the desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—concisely, the lust for power and money.
That quest for power and money doesn’t always feel real to Christians. At some level, each of us is trying to live for God, so we don’t realize how serious the world’s addiction to money really is. However, for people who don’t know Jesus, the lust for power and money is immense.
This is why the Lord used the apostle Paul to warn us in 1 Timothy 6 to resist the love of money.
We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our strength. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to seek and desire the face of Jesus—along with all the godly and holy things He instructs us to do and pursue.
Loving money has nothing in common with loving Jesus.
“Loving money” means you set your desire on that money. It means your emotions are attached to money; that the affection of your heart is centered on money. It means the posture of your heart leans toward the accumulation of this resource that give you power, security, love, or anything that you do not trust God to satisfy with Himself.
Loving Jesus, on the other hand, means:
- Your desire is for Christ. You love Him, seek His face, and live only to please Him.
- Your emotions are centered on God. You depend on Him to comfort you, lead you, guide you, and fill you with His power, love, peace, joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit.
- You wake up and say, “Lord God, I commit my life to You today. You are everything to me. Would You glorify Your own name in my life today?”
We are not commanded to avoid money. Instead, the Bible commands us to use money, earn money, save money, invest money, and steward money well in service to Him—but to only love God and people, not money.
Money Is What Human Hearts Choose to Make It
Money is a tool.
It is a method of exchange: something you give someone in exchange for something else. It is amoral—neither good nor evil. But, its undeniable importance in our daily lives means that the enemy does all he can to rob people of a true, Biblical understanding of money.
That’s why, as Christians, we should know that God says:
- His blessing makes you rich (Proverbs 10:22).
- He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). That’sa lot of riches—and a LOT of supply!
- He wants us to save money for future needs, lean times, and emergencies (Proverbs 6:6-8).
- He honors the work of investing money and building upstanding businesses (Proverbs 31:16).
- We are to keep a close watch on our finances (Proverbs 27:23-27).
- And most importantly, we are to be acutely aware that God owns it all. Everything in Heaven and earth belongs to God, and we are only stewarding His resources on His behalf (1 Chronicles 29:10-12; Psalm 24:1).
Let Scripture Inform Your Theology of Money, and Set Your Heart on Christ
As Ecclesiastes 10:19 says, “A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry; but money answers everything.” The author of Ecclesiastes points out that money is involved in every aspect of life. And when we examine what the whole Bible has to say about money, we see that money is always a blessing and poverty is always a curse.
Whether you love or hate or are indifferent to money, I encourage you to search the Scriptures, not with the intent to defend or justify your feelings about money, but to submit your understanding of money’s place in your life to God’s trustworthy authority.
Read what God has to say about money from Genesis through Revelation. Whatever form it takes, God wants to provide for you. But more than being comfortable in your resources, He wants you to have a pure heart. He wants you to pursue Him and not riches, and to steward His gifts well for His glory.
However God blesses you, worship the giver and enjoy his gifts, always remaining sensitive to how He calls you to give back and bless others. And when you submit your finances to His Lordship and obey everything He says to do regarding money, your heart will be freed to center on Jesus—where it belongs.
Jamie Rohrbaugh is an author, speaker, and Presence seeker whose heart is for the local church. Called to edify, encourage, and equip the Body of Christ, her passion is to see sons and daughters of all ages transformed by the love of Abba Father. Jamie blogs at FromHisPresence.com® about prayer, revival, and the manifest presence of God. She is the author of four books and of numerous articles around the web. Jamie is a grateful member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She and her husband live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and together they have one cat. Follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin and history of specific verses within Scripture context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
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"Pray Without Ceasing"
"Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"
"Faith Without Works is Dead"
"Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart"
"All Things Work Together for Good"
"Be Strong and Courageous"
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